Ask the Laundress
How do you remove the scent of moth balls from clothing? I buy a lot of vintage and am also guilty of storing clothes with these nasty things!
Eliminating the smell of mothballs from clothing can be a daunting task as mothballs are extremely stubborn!
For silk, wool and delicate items, I recommend soaking them in a bath of water and Scented Vinegar. Vinegar is known for its powerful cleansing properties that fight stains, buildup, odors and germs, so it will help rid your clothing of that potent mothball smell. The amount of vinegar added to the bath and the temperature of the water will vary according to the number of items being washed and their fabric composition.
You can also add the vinegar directly to the washing drum (top loaders) or the detergent dispenser (front loaders) and run a wash cycle without detergent or softener. Follow the vinegar wash with a normal wash cycle.
When treating more durable fabrics such as cotton and linen, you can try soaking the items in a bath of hot water and All-Purpose Bleach Alternative for roughly 30 minutes. The All-Purpose Bleach Alternative is a nontoxic, fragrance-free alternative to chlorine bleach that is color friendly and will work to remove the odor as well. Treat the soak as a pretreating procedure and follow with a normal wash cycle after its completion.
Shop the laundress
Scented Vinegar 16 fl. oz.
All-Purpose Bleach Alternative 32 oz.
Wool & Cashmere Spray 4 fl. oz.